A Man's Man's Box

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Project by maplerock posted 11-08-2013 05:03 PM 2208 views 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a lot to learn about making boxes. I learned quite a bit making this one. I wanted to make a box with a different kind of top. I have been making solid tops mostly, with an occasional inset panel, usually nice plywood with veneer. For this one I decided to rout the sides and top panel to inset it. It was difficult for me. Ultimately I want to make a box with a pin type hinge (like Greg the Cajun Box Sculptor) but I’ve never seen it done yet. I will add that to my bag of tricks eventually. This one has a piano hinge.

It came out OK… but the look I got doesn’t match the difficulty for me. The box is pretty nice though. It is all Cherry with walnut splines. It’s Heavy. That’s what I wanted. A box that when you pick it up you say, “That’s a man’s box.” Nothing sissy about this one.

Here’s a link to the type of box hinge & lid I want to try eventually:

So if you can tell from the photos, tell me what you think. Clunky? Lid too big? Boring? I like it, but it isn’t as magnificent as I wanted it to be. The finish is good… tung oil, & 6 coats of wipe on poly.

I’d like to fill it with money. It would hold quite a bit.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

13 comments so far

View GeneR's profile


152 posts in 2819 days

#1 posted 11-08-2013 05:51 PM

looks good for your first box, couple suggestions though. Recess the piano hinge so the lid closes flat (and the process sucks, big PITA to get it to line up right.) The splines are a little off, This happened on my first one also.

If you would describe the steps you went through to build the box we all could give you some tips or tricks to doing stuff different, easier or better.

Tip: Before you cut your splines lay out your lid cut lines (both sides of Blade), then mark your splines equidistance from the blade cut lines. This will give it a more uniform look. (lesson learned from my first one as well.) Also use 90 degree stop hinges they cost a good bit of change but you do not need to use the chain lid stay which I found out breaks easy with heavy lids.

Great job and cant wait to see more.

-- Failure is always an option. :-)

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30567 posts in 3219 days

#2 posted 11-08-2013 06:27 PM

You are doing better all the time. Keep up the good work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2681 days

#3 posted 11-08-2013 07:26 PM

Thanks Gene. To clarify, I’ve made lots of boxes… just none with this kind of top. I like to change it up, and for me it’s a lot of trial and error. One reason I like box making is that if you screw something up, lots of the time you can adapt the design to correct the mistake.

You can see some more of my boxes here: ”":

Hinges are indeed my nemesis. I have a difficult tome getting the lid to lay flat. Could you share your method for cutting tops off of boxes?

Thanks for your input.

Monte… I always appreciate your comments. Thanks!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4028 days

#4 posted 11-08-2013 07:50 PM

That’s a manly man’s box—nice work!

The way I learned to cut the tops off is to do it on the tablesaw. Set the fence at the right distance, and set the blade height so that it doesn’t cut all the way through, but leaves just a ribbon of wood left. This keeps the lid and carcase from binding on the blade. Once you’re done, you can separate the lid with a utility knife.

Keep ‘em coming!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View hyperfine's profile


3 posts in 2984 days

#5 posted 11-08-2013 08:04 PM

Looks like a nice manly box, so I think you achieved your desired aesthetic! It looks like a box with a “tough disposition,” so to speak.

If I were to offer any comments that are only meant to be taken as thought-provoking suggestions: the proportion of the lid height to the rest of the box size looks a little big, but this is totally subjective, so if you like it then totally disregard the comment. Also, if you’re doing an inset top, why not use a different species? I think the contrasting species would be a quite compelling reason to do such a top.

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2681 days

#6 posted 11-08-2013 08:22 PM

Thanks Dean! That is how I do it… but thought perhaps there’s a better way. I got a new table saw blade today… TENRYU 40 teeth and it cuts like butter. I have what I thought were three other “good” blades. I got burns and had to push a little harder than I wanted. This blade is magnifique!

Hyperfine… THAT is exactly what I thought. I went for that look, but afterward I thought it bulky looking toward the top. It is very utilitarian though. It will hold a half million dollars in hundred dollar bills. :-) The other species idea is spot on too. I went for a classy look, but maybe it ended up boring.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View doubleDD's profile


9718 posts in 2924 days

#7 posted 11-09-2013 12:43 AM

I say it’s a TOUGH looking box. Looks like it will handle anything you throw at it. Hope to see more soon. Good work.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4189 days

#8 posted 11-09-2013 03:02 AM

Your boxes are getting nicer and nicer with each one. I also think an inset top is practical because you cannot store anything in a deep top. You should try the pin hinges…They are easy and have a clean look because you only see wood. I recently started using some 2” welding studs for hinges that I found at Harbor Freight. A bag of 100 for $8 and they have a knubby end that keeps them from going in too far…They are the same diameter as the brass rods and don’t meed to be cut.

View Boxguy's profile


2883 posts in 3148 days

#9 posted 11-09-2013 03:24 AM

Jerry, nice job. I like rounding things until they look like a used bar of soap. At least that is what my sister says. Nice wood. I like the swirl around the lift. The splines look neat and tight. We are going to have to find you a drum sander. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

669 posts in 3083 days

#10 posted 11-09-2013 07:48 AM

Jerry, that box would look beautiful on my porch here in Mayberry!

I looked at all the boxes you’ve made. Very impressive! I certainly wouldn’t hang my head over a piano hinge.

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3685 days

#11 posted 11-09-2013 01:42 PM

Looks good to me. I like where you placed that knot right there in front. Nice splines as well. It would look really good filled w/money.. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Tooch's profile


2013 posts in 2757 days

#12 posted 11-09-2013 04:17 PM

I like this piece alot. I just tried some wooden hinges after the inspiration of looking at other LJs projects. I was fairly difficult at first, but then overall not too bad. I think I’m hooked now…

Don’t know about you guys, but I want to eliminate as much hardware as possible from now on. Too many cheap screws have stripped or twisted off on me, and detracted or ruined an otherwise decent project.

Again Jerry, great job!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View leafherder's profile


1969 posts in 2833 days

#13 posted 11-09-2013 05:41 PM

I really like the way you put the most interesting grain patterns on the front of your boxes. Lots of people save that for the top, but let’s face it, the top is not always what you see first. On this box I also like the way you made the thumb notch – a little bit different than the norm, which makes it more distinctive, yet it still fits the overall design and highlights that grain pattern. Another great job.

-- Leafherder

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